Author Archives: Sheepy Hollow Farm

Describe normal…?

What is NORMAL anyway? Does ‘normal’ change with time? How do we define, categorize, and treat that which is NOT normal? Normal can be a highly personal concept—and almost everyone, from certain perspectives, can be seen as normal . . . or abnormal. Right?

I suppose I had a very NORMAL Easter Sunday… or, perhaps it was very ABNORMAL?!?? I worked all week preparing [cooking and baking] for a very traditional Polish Easter ‘feast’… as a back-up ‘plan’. Planning(?) an Easter family dinner w/my sister (who’s been staying w/my mom), who also had her son’s graduation to attend – and the uncertainty if she’d be back in town, well, you know.

Nevermind. My other sister (and husband) were in the midst of moving into their new home and would NOT be ‘home’ visiting. Toss into the equation a few pregnant ewes, bottle babies, chores (yes, even on Sunday) and milking twice a day doesn’t allow much time for off-site ‘visits’.

So how did my Easter Sunday go??? My kids, Matt and Katie, were home for the weekend (YAY)! When we got home from church on Easter Sunday morning, we were greeted by Bella’s triplet ram lambs!!!! I ‘skipped’ breakfast due to all the shepherding obligations (stripping teats, dipping navels, making sure babies latch-on and get a drink, provide mama with molasses water, take care of afterbirth, clean stall/replace bedding, etc.).

Hank, my brother, came over and we (Katie, Hank and I) made our Polish soup. My sister/mom never did come to dinner. My brother John had dinner at my mom’s house instead. Afterwards, Dennis, The Hubs, and Matt visited his mom [my mother-in-law] and Katie and her girlfriend Megan (who had dinner at our house) visited my mom et al [and brought them pierogis].

…and I stayed home, did chores and ate a ham sandwich!

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Bella and her triplets, less than 24-hours old. The large lamb (in front) weighed about 7-1/2 pounds while the two ‘smaller’ ram lambs weighed about 4-1/2 pounds each. Boys, boys, boys!

bella spots

Shetlands come in a variety of natural ‘colors’ and patterns!

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This little guy has two brown dots/eyedrops at each eye… otherwise, he’s all white!

So, I ask you, what is NORMAL?

He is risen!

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image via

First 2014 Spring lamb has arrived!

As of late, every morning – before chores – I check my prego Shetland ewes. I play a bit of a lambing game, not knowing for sure and for certain WHEN breeding occurred. [They make ram breeding harnesses that colors/marks the ewe's back-side when the ram mounts her, but, I don't use one.]

Normally, I set-up my breeding pens in the Fall and unless I’m lucky/actually observe the ram breeding the ewe,  I guesstimate lambing dates for Spring. The normal gestation period of a female sheep/ewe is approximately 147 days, ranging from 144 to 152 days. With a small flock, I know my sheep well. As the approximate lambing date approaches, I look for typical ‘signs‘ and behavior of ewes soon-to-go-into-labor. The ewe is then moved into individual jugs or small pens in the barn to lamb. BTW, I’ve also experienced lambing in the back forty… surprise!!

Yesterday morning [at 4 a.m.], I was greeted by our first 2014 Spring lamb, a single white ewe lamb [Dove X Ceylon] weighing in at 7-pounds. When I invaded her privacy, mama was doing a fine job drying her off! I suspect she lambed about an hour earlier since the afterbirth had already passed. I dipped the lamb’s umbilical in iodine and stripped the mama’s waxy plug from her teats, expressed a few squirts of colostrum-rich milk and pointed the newborn lamb in the right ‘direction’.  A slight distraction from my routine morning chores. I TOTALLY love an unassisted natural birth! WOOT!

Dove

 

Ramble N White Dove (Dam)

 

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Romyldale Ceylon (Sire)

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Dove and her ewe lamb – three days old.

Happy Easter!

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Essex Young Farmers

LOVE me a farmer!!!

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Dream Job: Cheesemaker

Parish Hill Creamery: Westminster West, VT

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Kelley Mooney’s spiritual lyrical adaptation of ‘Hallelujah’

Easter blessings!

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How to blade shear a sheep!

Study. Practice again and again.

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wooly wednesday [how to warp a loom]

I need to do this…

Companion Plants: Planning Your Veggie Garden

 

I found this handy Burpee resource and thought you might consider companion planting in your veggie garden too!

Companion Plants

Companion plants benefit each other when planted in close proximity. They work (and play) well together, attracting good insects and keeping away the unwanted ones. Companion plants also provide nutrients and in some cases natural shade and support to their garden neighbors.

 

Companion Plants Incompatible Plants
Basil Pepper, Tomato
Bush Beans Cabbage, Cucumber, Eggplant, Lettuce, Strawberry, Carrots, Peas, Radishes Onion
Pole Beans Cucumber, Eggplant, Lettuce Onion
“Cabbage Family
(BroccoliBrussels Sprouts,CabbageCauliflower)”
All Aromatic Herbs, Bush Beans, Onions, Spinach Dill, Strawberries, Pole Beans, Tomato
Cauliflower Spinach
Cucumber Beans, Broccoli, Cabbage, Lettuce, Onion, Peas, Radish, Tomato Aromatic Herbs
Eggplant Beans, Spinach
Lettuce Beans, Cucumber, Peas, Spinach, Strawberry
Onion Family Beets, Cabbage Family, Carrots, Cucumber, Lettuce, Pepper, Radishes, Squash, Strawberries, Tomato Beans
Parsley Tomato
Pepper Bean, Carrot, Onion
Spinach Cauliflower, Eggplant, Peas, Strawberry
Squash Beans, Onion, Radish
Strawberry Bush Beans, Lettuce, Onion, Spinach
Tomato Carrot, Cucumber, Mint, Onion Family, Parsley, Peas, Sage Cabbage Family

Many vegetables and herbs have natural substances in their roots, flowers and leaves that repel unwanted pests and attract beneficial insects. Some companion plants help other varieties grow by providing shade or enhancing flavor. Simply put, companion planting helps balance your garden’s ecosystem, allowing nature to do its job. Nature integrates many different plants, animals, and many more organisms into every ecosystem so nothing goes to waste.

How close should you plant these companion plants? To make it simple, take an average spacing between the two varieties. If one variety should be spaced 12 in. apart and the other calls for 6 in., space them 9 in. apart. Be sure to keep an eye on the heights for proper shading. Try not to completely shade out any of your shorter veggies and herbs.

Plants that are not compatible should be placed in different gardens or opposite ends of larger beds (larger than 10 by 10 ft.). Don’t plant incompatible plants in the same patio container and keep them apart in pots on your deck.

 

Coriander kids!

Oh my… Friday already??? Where has the week gone? I’ve barely recovered from Coriander, our Oberhasli doe, kidding last week! YES!! Coriander was four days overdue when she FINALLY began to show signs of going into labor! That was last week Wednesday evening at about 6 p.m. [learn more about kidding here].

The Hubs and I took turns with hourly checks on Corey’s progress through the night and into the wee hours of Thursday morning!! Finally, at approximately 2 a.m., Corey gave birth to twins: a buck and a doe. Thankfully, a  textbook ‘normal’ birthing presentation – and no drama! I like no drama!! Kids weighed-in at about 9-pounds each!

two goats on a log

All is well! The kids have gained a little over two pounds already. They’re my full-time gardening companions… hop, skip and jump!! As you can imagine, I can’t get much work done, but, I’m NOT complaining!

Happy weekend!